Expeditionary Force Marines Sourcebook
Expeditionary Force Marines Sourcebook is a military sci-fi supplement for Robotech, written by Irvin Jackson and Kevin Siembieda and published by Palladium Books.
By Chad Elstad
My indoctrination into the Robotech universe was watching it on television back in the 1980’s. I used to sprint home from school just so I wouldn’t miss the opening sequence. Once the RPG came out, I played the heck out of it; devouring every book that came out. So I fired my thrusters when given the opportunity to review this sourcebook.
In 2008, Palladium Books released a new, revamped edition of the Robotech line titled Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. It improved the RPG in almost every dynamic. The Robotech Expeditionary Force Marines Sourcebook carries the adventure into space. I suppose it is worth noting that, as a sourcebook, it does require Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles RPG to play. The sourcebook is a beefy 160 pages and is comprised of around 25 pages on races, 65 pages on UEEF mecha, vehicles, and equipment, a few pages on alien weapons and equipment for good measure, and around 25 pages on the Invid. Fill the rest with miscellaneous goodness and bake at 350 for one hour.
Now that I’ve whet your appetite, the first several sections contain several wonderful fluff sections. I enjoyed reading through the history and timeline progression. Though others have pointed out inconsistencies, I look at it that Robotech is at least three anime’s smashed together in the first place so any errors are a part of its charm. Call it a potluck or smorgasbord if you’d like. It also provides several ideas for planet-hopping adventure hooks with information on several of the planets. This really got my creative juices flowing with adventure and campaign ideas. It also includes a section on quick character generation and boasts you can create a character in around fifteen minutes compared to 45 to an hour. It has some fun ideas and can help take your characters in creative directions. It mostly uses percentages as the mechanism for rapid character creation, but I felt the percentages were a bit too uniform for my taste. The great thing about that is you can certainly tweak them.
The next section covers the Expeditionary Force Marines: Occupational Character Classes (O.C.C.’s), Military Operational Specialties (M.O.S.’s) followed by a fairly large section on alien Racial Character Classes (R.C.C.’s). It even includes the Zentraedi R.C.C.
Personally, I am not crazy about magic in the Robotech universe (Perytonian R.C.C.), but this is also coming from a guy who once ran a campaign with a character that was a weasel (from T.M.N.T RPG) that piloted the Gladiator (aka: Spartan) mecha. Yea, good times.
The next section takes up almost a third of the book with mecha, vehicles, and equipment. We get a look at the first Cyclones as well as several new destroids. If you’re used to the original Robotech artwork, you may or may not like the new designs. To me, they look like transitionary mecha between the First Robotech war and Southern Cross.
The final sections cover the Regent’s Invid Horde. It includes the Invid Scientist R.C.C, a new Inorganic, and several new Invid Mecha. It concludes with a lengthy write-up with stats on the Invid Regent himself.
Though the sourcebook doesn’t always state when content comes from another sourcebook, such as the Perytonian’s (Rifts Earth), it does a good job describing the differences in several places between it and the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles RPG book and if content, such as the Inorganics, are taken from Robotech: The Genesis Pits Sourcebook.
Though the content in the sourcebook flows well and is easy to read, there are a few issues that could have used an extra pass through editing. That being said, the book is decently priced for its size, and I feel well worth the purchase.